Chenery Visits Santa Anita On Vox Populi Day

Chenery Visits Santa Anita On Vox Populi Day
Photo: Benoitphoto.com
Penny Chenery presents the first Secretariat Vox Populi Award to Team Zenyatta.

Several hundred fans lined up well into Seabiscuit Court in the East Paddock Garden at Santa Anita Feb. 5 for a glimpse of Penny Chenery and Team Zenyatta on a day the 2010 Horse of the Year was to receive the first Secretariat Vox Populi Award.

The principals of Secretariat and Zenyatta signed prints of the two champions for so long that Jerry and Ann Moss almost cut it too close to see their newest star, Zazu, prepare for her victory in the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I). Following the sixth race, Chenery made the award presentation to the Mosses in the Santa Anita winner’s circle.

Chenery and the Mosses were happy to take the time earlier in the day because they enjoyed the fans’ enthusiasm.

“These are real fans,” said Jerry Moss. “These are people who were delighted at what these horses did.”

“The love they give for the horses they give to us because we’re the conduit,” added Chenery. “Their enthusiasm gives me the energy to keep going. You just can’t anticipate the warmth, the kindness that you get from these fans.”

Though it has been nearly 38 years since Secretariat won the 1973 Triple Crown, Chenery clearly recalls the details of the experience.

“I went out to the barn two or three times a week,” she said. “The week before the Belmont (gr. I) was hell week. We were on three magazine covers. I loved it, but it certainly was exhausting. When Secretariat turned for home and opened up that huge margin and at the end I’m throwing my arms in the air, that was as much relief as celebration. Thank God we got it done.”

Zenyatta’s come-from-behind style gave the Mosses a different feeling. Jerry Moss explained that “it was always, ‘Is she really going to get there this time?’ It was a different kind of a celebration.”

Chenery relished seeing Zenyatta win the 2010 Lady’s Secret Stakes (gr. I).

“I have been in her presence—that’s just the way I felt,” Chenery said. “She is so in command of her environment. She looked me up and down and sort of said, ‘Hmmm, I guess you can be in my presence.’ She’s just a magnificent creature. She is compelling.”

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